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1 in 3: Why Diabetes Should Matter To Every HR Leader

Dr. Jason
Paruthi
December 5, 2022
1 in 3: Why Diabetes Should Matter To Every HR Leader
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Are you at risk of prediabetes?

Lark can help lower your risk for Type 2 Diabetes through healthy habit formation, and data tracking.
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Today, approximately 1 in 3 Americans live with prediabetes and 1 in 10 Americans live with diabetes. To anchor with numbers, this translates to 96 million Americans over the age of 18 having a very high risk of developing diabetes (accounting for diagnosed and undiagnosed) and 37.3 million Americans already having diabetes, with an estimated 33.5 million to 35.4 million living with type 2. Patients living with diabetes are more likely to experience lower quality of life, blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and other serious comorbidities. This can have monumental impacts on your organization and its people – including absenteeism, revenue, sentiment ratings, and retention. In fact, the American Diabetes Association estimates nearly $10,000 per year of additional healthcare costs per person with diabetes, along with billions of dollars annually in indirect costs due to reduced productivity, absenteeism and disease-related disability. 

The good news? There are strategies and new technologies employer organizations can implement to address controllable risk factors associated with Type 2 Diabetes and other serious conditions. 

Modifiable Risk Factors

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are several risk factors to be mindful of for both diabetes and prediabetes - see the chart below. As you can see, many of the risk factors are the same, and prediabetes means the body is already having trouble managing high blood sugar and is at high risk for fully developing type 2 diabetes. The key risk factors an employee can control and their employer can help them with are weight gain and activity level. The CDC states that a person can prevent or even reverse prediabetes by addressing risk factors appropriately.

Associated Risk Factors:
Prediabetes Type 2 Diabetes
- Having prediabetes
Being 45 years or older Being 45 years or older
Having immediate family with Type 2 diabetes Having immediate family with Type 2 diabetes
Having ever had gestational diabetes Having ever had gestational diabetes
Being African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian, or Alaska Native person. Some Pacific Islanders and Asian American people are also at higher risk. Being African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian, or Alaska Native person. Some Pacific Islanders and Asian American people are also at higher risk.
Being overweight Being overweight
Being physically active less than 3 times a week Being physically active less than 3 times a week

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/risk-factors.html 

Addressing Modifiable Risk Factors 

Significant weight gain and a lack of physical activity are often linked by a third variable - diet. This might sound obvious, but the science may go deeper than we once thought. Eating healthy food appears to promote the growth of “good” bacteria, which in turn may positively affect production of neurotransmitters like serotonin. Studies have shown that the risk of depression is 25% to 35% lower in those who eat a “traditional” diet like the Mediterranean diet or the Japanese diet, compared to eating a "Western" diet that is high in processed and unrefined foods and sugars, according to Harvard Health

Look to Digital Care for Added Support

As an employer, there are tools available to you today that can help support your employees seeking new methods to manage or prevent diabetes, as well as provide them actionable insights to stay healthy. In today’s work environment, employees demand and expect their employer to offer benefits outside of the traditional health insurance options. Digital care solutions have grown and shifted the way we think about care delivery and consumption, and could be the step you need to take to help your employees maintain a healthy lifestyle before, during, and after work hours. 

To help fill the care access gap, we developed digital care coaching programs for the prevention and management of diabetes that can be accessed anytime, anywhere. Lark’s Artificial Intelligence-based digital Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) - Fully Recognized by the CDC - as well as our Diabetes Management program helps employees make small behavior changes that, over time, add up to a lasting impact on their health. 

In one of our latest peer-reviewed studies published in Digital Health, we showed that out of a sample population of 3,933 members using Lark’s DPP, CDC-qualifying members maintained an average weight loss of 5.3% at 12 months, with 40% achieving 5% or more weight loss. These results showed that increased coaching interactions as well as logging two or more weigh-ins per week were associated with greater weight loss. 

With roughly 20% of employees working remotely full time and with 2023 remote work trends remaining uncertain, it’s imperative for employer organizations nationwide to offer a variety of care solutions that reach all of their employees locations and care needs. 

To learn more about Lark’s compassionate care coaching with connected devices and accreditations, please visit Lark’s website or schedule a demo.

About Lark

Lark helps you eat better, move more, stress less, and improve your overall wellness. Lark’s digital coach is available 24/7 on your smartphone to give you personalized tips, recommendations, and motivation to lose weight and prevent chronic conditions like diabetes.

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